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Posidonius of Apamea


Bust of Posidonius (?). Museum of Rhodes (Greece). Photo Bert van der Spek.
Posidonius
Posidonius of Apamea (135-51): Greek philosopher, historian, and scientist.

We are ill-informed about the development of philosophy after the origin of the Stoa, Epicurism, Skepticism, Cynicism, Aristoteleanism, and Platonism. For several reasons, nearly all texts are lost. This was also the fate of the works of the Stoic sage Posidonius of Apamea (c.135-51), but his books are often quoted by other authors.

As a philosopher, he was not an innovator, but applied the theory to science and scholarship. For example, his Histories were a philosophical continuation of the World History of Polybius of Megalopolis. Among his other publications were treatises in which the Stoic world view was applied to everyday subjects: On anger, On virtue, and Consolation. Being more interested in educating the masses than in theoretical purity, he often borrowed ideas from other schools. Philosophy after Posidonius often was a cross-fertilization between viewpoints (e.g., Plutarch of Chaeronea and Plotinus).

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